(514c) Rapid Production of High-Purity Hydrogen Fuel from Liquid Hydrocarbon Fossil Fuels

Authors: 
Jie, X., University of Oxford
Edwards, P. P., University of Oxford
Xiao, T., University of Oxford
Hydrogen as an energy carrier promises a sustainable energy revolution. However, one of the greatest challenges for any future hydrogen economy is the necessity for large scale hydrogen production not involving concurrent CO2 production. The intrinsically high hydrogen content of fossil fuels offers a potential route to CO2-free hydrogen production through their catalytic deep dehydrogenation.

We have recently discovered a new approach to rapidly liberate high-purity hydrogen by microwave-initiated catalytic dehydrogenation of liquid alkanes using Fe and Ni particles supported on silicon carbide. A H2 production selectivity from all evolved gases of some 98%, is achieved with less than a fraction of a percent of adventitious CO and CO2. Such a rapid and selective production of hydrogen from liquid hydrocarbon alkanes reveals a powerful new platform for hydrogen production.

Importantly, these findings represent a new and attractive path towards a decarbonised fossil fuels economy: Thus, fluid hydrocarbon fuels are not combusted - but rather utilised - as an abundant, widespread source for the production of high purity hydrogen for use in fuel cells. In this approach, CO2 would never enter the atmosphere as in the conventional combustion process. The utilisation process yields elemental hydrogen and elemental carbon; the latter can then be readily subjected to recycling through a range of established chemical routes.